Tax bills to go up less than 3 per cent

COUNCIL tax bills for Ipswich households will go up by less than three per cent in April it was confirmed today.As the Evening Star revealed yesterday, Suffolk County Council is to increase its part of the bills by less than inflation – 2.

COUNCIL tax bills for Ipswich households will go up by less than three per cent in April it was confirmed today.

As the Evening Star revealed yesterday, Suffolk County Council is to increase its part of the bills by less than inflation – 2.9 pc.

And Ipswich council, which had pledged to keep its element below the inflation rate, responded by confirming a rise of just 2.4 pc.

The only element still to be confirmed is that from the Suffolk Police Authority which will be discussed on Friday.

However informed sources have told the Star that the authority's rise is expected to be 4.7 pc.

That would leave Ipswich council tax payers facing an increase of 2.98 pc in April – well below the current inflation rate of 3.5 pc.

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However senior county councillors denied that this year's low rise was a bribe in an attempt to persuade voters to forget 2003's 18.5 pc increase when they go to the polls in May.

Deputy leader David Rowe, who is responsible for the budget, said: "We have listened to the concerns of householders after the big tax rise two years ago. People want lower increases, but also frontline services maintained. We have achieved both."

Opposition leader Jeremy Pembroke said: "This is the administration that increased tax two years' ago by 18.5pc. That fact will never go away.

"If they could bring in a low increase now, why not before instead of inflicting financial suffering on the people of Suffolk?"

At Civic Centre, borough leaders were hailing their 2.4 pc rise as the lowest in Suffolk.

Conservative council leader Dale Jackson said: "This makes a big change from other years when Ipswich has had the biggest rise in the county."

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